A reflection from the other side of the bed--an account of what it is like to be a patient and a relative in an intensive care unit.
Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2010 Feb;26(1):18-23
Authors: Crunden E
Following a two-day history of pyrexia, stomach pain, diarrhoea and an emergency laparotomy my wife was admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with septic shock. Lucy was artificially ventilated for seven days, and was treated with fluids, vasopressors and antibiotics. Her condition continued to deteriorate and on about the third day she looked as though she might die. However over the next few days Lucy began to recover and she was eventually transferred to a ward and came home three weeks after admission to hospital. During her stay in the intensive care unit, Lucy developed pneumonia, bilateral pleural effusions, acute renal failure and a pericardial effusion. Over the weeks and months that followed, Lucy began to describe her experiences and the impact that these have had on her. She described what it felt like to be a patient in the ICU and the challenges that she faced during her recovery. I am a Registered Nurse and at the time my wife was admitted to the ICU I had spent twenty years working within the field of intensive care. Until my wife had been admitted to ICU, I thought that I had a good appreciation of what it was like to be a patient or a relative in an intensive care unit. Having experienced critical care at first hand and having had an opportunity to reflect on what happened I now realise what little insight I had. I have now come to realise that as nurses in intensive care there is much we can do to alleviate the suffering and discomfort experienced by some of our patients and relatives. Perhaps by describing what happened, I will enable the reader to understand more clearly and to reflect on those factors which have a deep and lasting impact on patients and their relatives and which can be influenced by nurses at the bedside. For the purpose of this account, I have chosen to call my wife, Lucy.
PMID: 19853452 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]